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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, August 5th (All times Eastern)

Baltimore Orioles (56-51) at Tampa Bay Rays (56-51), 1:40 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Miguel Gonzalez (3-2, 4.46) Tampa Bay - David Price (14-4, 2.64)

(Sports Network) - In what has been a very back-and-forth series, the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles will settle things on Sunday in a rubber match of a three-game weekend series at Tropicana Field.

On Friday night Tampa Bay shut down the Orioles offense and came away with a 2-0 win in the series opener.

In game two it was Baltimore's turn as the Orioles posted a shutout of their own and came away with a 4-0 victory.

Wei-Yin Chen was impressive in picking up his team-leading 10th win of the season for Baltimore. The right-hander went seven innings, scattering five hits and striking out four.

Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and Chris Davis each had RBI singles in the game and J.J. Hardy and Nate McClouth each added two hits for the Orioles, who had lost consecutive games entering play.

Jeremy Hellickson allowed all four Baltimore runs in his four innings of work while allowing eight hits and walking four. The bullpen pitched six scoreless innings to keep the Rays in it, but the offense went hitless (0-for-4) with runners in scoring position.

Ben Zobrist went 2-for-3 to highlight an otherwise tough day at the plate for the Rays, who had won three straight going into Saturday's matchup.

These two squads are now tied for second in the AL East as both continue to fight for one of the two AL Wild Card berths.

The David Price for Cy Young campaign makes it's next stop on Sunday with the left-hander getting the start for the Rays.

The former No. 1 overall pick was the first pitcher in the majors this season to reach 14 wins with his record now sitting at 14-4, which is tied with three other pitchers for the top win total this season. Price's other numbers are also impressive with his 2.64 ERA ranking seventh in the majors and 141 strikeouts 11th.

Price pitched well in his most recent start against Oakland last Monday. Although he gave up three runs, he pitched seven innings and allowed five hits with 11 strikeouts. It was the third time this season he has finished a game with a double-digit strikeout total and second time in as many games.

Coincidentally, the first start in the consecutive strikeout barrage came against the Orioles. Price allowed just one run over seven innings while striking out 10 in that start.

Price has had great success against Baltimore in his career with a 6-2 record and 2.45 ERA in 11 starts.. This season he has faced Baltimore twice and is 2-0 with an 0.63 ERA in those appearances.

This will be Price's first start in August, a month in which he is 7-5 with a 3.01 ERA in 16 career starts.

Making his ninth appearance, and sixth straight start for Baltimore, will be Miguel Gonzalez.

The 28-year-old rookie made his debut out of the bullpen on May 29 but he has since been inserted into the rotation. The transition has had it's highs and lows with Gonzalez accumulating a 3-2 record and 5.34 ERA as a starter. He had a 2.31 ERA in three relief appearances before being inserted into the starting rotation.

Overall Gonzalez is 3-2 with a 4.46 ERA in a season split between the bullpen and starting rotation.

The right-hander lasted 6 2/3 innings in his last start, surrendering four runs on six hits while striking out a career-high eight batters in a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees.

Gonzalez faced off with Tampa Bay in the start before that one and had much less success. Gonzalez was blasted for seven runs on seven hits over just 2 2/3 innings of work, pushing his ERA from 2.61 entering play to 4.28. It was the only appearance Gonzalez has made against Tampa Bay in his short career.

This has been a very even series this season with Tampa Bay now holding a slight 6-5 advantage in 11 matchups with the Orioles.

08/05 10:30:51 ET